The Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) has managed to hit the bull’s eye for their 2020/2021 M5.9billion revenue collection target amid the Covid-19 pandemic which runs amok.
According to the LRA Commissioner General, Thabo Khasipe, the taxman managed to walk ahead of their usual annual target.
Khasipe told this publication yesterday that although the tax collection was immensely impacted, he is proud that his unit is walking ahead of their target as of end of January; however, he was quick to indicate that he can’t guarantee a steady collection until their deadline which is in March.
He further stated that during the introduction of the first lockdown last year, they had to postpone their clients’ payments with three months to allow their businesses to recoup from the impact.
“There has been a negative impact on the tax collection during the lockdown period, that is since last year April after the financial year,” he said adding that Value Added Tax (VAT) was one of the most affected tax revenues as businesses were no exclusives.
“VAT was affected because it is a tax deducted when people buy; meaning if there is no consumption it means, there will definitely be nothing to collect,” he said.
“Businesses were closed and many suffered during the lockdown, people lost their jobs. So since people were not buying, VAT went down,” he said.
The Covid-19 lockdown was introduced at the beginning of April last year while the first case was recorded in May. The second wave of the pandemic came to the shore in the December of the same year, thus, compelling a forced Alert Level Red National Lockdown and Orange earlier this year, respectively.
“The impact was foreseen during the first lockdown, we tried to make projections of impacts, and targets were rationalized. Our target was to collect 5.9billion,” he said.
“Until the end of January, we are ahead of the target, but we don’t know what will happen for the next two months; February and March.
“We had to implement strategies; we gave confessions to defer our clients to pay the April, May, June tax from July in instalments and we generally saw a compliance of clients,” he said.
“If there was no Covid-19 and lockdown, we could have hit the target,” he said.
Khasipe emphasised that the 30% tobacco and 15% alcohol levy hike still continues as the revenue insisted last year. He said the country is in dire need of the revenue increment to boost the submerging economy of the country.
“We are still on that plan and it (the bill) is now in parliament because it has passed through the committee, so it is no longer in our hands. We are waiting for the parliament to accept it.
“We have to make it work because we need that tax income, the country is economically suffering and that will help us,” he said. value=th